Protest Banners Displayed on Campaign for Berkeley Portrait Wall

Photo: Banners were hung on the portrait wall outside of Dwinelle Hall calling for increased wages for UC workers and democratization of the board of regents.
Will Kane/Photo
Banners were hung on the portrait wall outside of Dwinelle Hall calling for increased wages for UC workers and democratization of the board of regents.

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On most days, the wall of student and faculty faces in front of Dwinelle Hall stands as a testament to the Campaign for Berkeley, the campus's $3 billion fundraising campaign.

But those who passed by early Tuesday saw a different row of faces-those of UC service workers on banners calling for increased wages and democratization of the UC Board of Regents.

The banners, which were about 10 feet wide and reached to the bottom of the wall, included the slogans "Give All Workers the Raises They Deserve," "Who Are the Regents?" and "Stop Raising Fees"-referring to the regents' meeting in San Francisco this week.

Campus administrators said they did not know who hung the signs, which were found draped over the wall Tuesday morning and were removed by police later that afternoon.

Some bystanders were surprised by the banners, but said it made sense to express grievances with the university on one of its public symbols.

"I don't think (the wall) promotes the unity, intelligence and cultural acceptance the university tried for," said junior Will Cole. "If the wall is a brochure promoting the university, the new signs are like the disclaimer on the cigarette package, warning them they don't pay their workers."

Though the banners grabbed her attention, senior Juliana Olsson said she was unswayed, adding that campus rallies and fliers already espoused the same ideals.

"I feel like this argument comes up all the time ... Honestly, I think that people will look at (the banner) and just be like 'Huh' and go to class," Olsson said.

Since the wall was unveiled in September as part of the campus's fundraising campaign, some of its faces have become adorned with mustaches, crossed-out eyes and unibrows.

Campus administrators said the banners should have been displayed elsewhere, but they were more concerned with the wall's graffiti.

"From what I saw today, it was quite extensive, so it seems in recent days to have gotten much worse, which is really a shame," said campus spokesperson Marie Felde.

Felde added that campus administrators may be forced to remove the wall earlier than anticipated if instances of graffiti continue.

"In addition to replacing individual photos with new ones to help protect the wall, the campus has added new covering to the wall to try to reduce the effect of graffiti on it," she said.


Vincent Quan is the university news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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